Steve Wildsmith

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Kata Hay remembers Ed McMahon

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The venerable Ed McMahon passed away this week, and while he hasn’t been in the spotlight in recent years like he was as Johnny Carson’s sidekick, he’ll still be remembered as one of the all-time great sidemen and hosts in show business.

In fact, Sevierville bluegrass girl Kata Hay — who leads Kata and the Blaze — released a statement in the wake of his death, which I’ll post below. First, we bow to Ms. Hay, who’s a doll in every sense of the word and one of our favorite people with whom to work. Here’s a photo, in fact, of her as a little girl — when she competed on “Star Search,” hosted by McMahon — and one of her all grown up.

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Here’s what she had to say …

With the recent passing of television legend Ed McMahon, there are many across the world who are grieving his loss. One East Tennessee girl remembers him well…
At 5 years old Kata Hay (Then Kata Huddleston) received a call from Orlando telling her that she had been chosen to be on Ed McMahon’s Star Search. For a small town girl this was one of the most incredible things that could happen. She of course jumped up and down on her Barbie Bed for hours after hearing the news. Three weeks later she was on a plane to Florida.
Kata remembers her time there “I was only 5 when I was on Star Search, but I have lots of memories of the time. It was amazing, my family and I stayed in the MIDDLE of Disney World for two weeks while filming my episodes on Star Search. We went to Disney World, Sea World, and Busch Gardens all for free on days off from taping. Though the days taping the show are what are most vivid in my memory. Meeting all of the interesting people competing on the show, super models, comedians, dancers, and other singers. I had people worrying about every hair being in place, doing my make-up and helping me with my wardrobe. I thought I was a little princess. I remember Ed would come in before every show to put everyone in a great mood for the taping. Everytime he would walk in with a cup in his hand like he was sipping on coffee… After a killer one liner that had us all rolling in the floor, he would pretend to trip and spill the “coffee” on some of us, of course it ended up being confetti. Ed would come by and see every contestant after the show, shake all the guys hands, and kiss all the girls on the cheek and talk to us all for a minute. He even let my dad and I go back in his dressing room with him and took some photo’s. I’ll never forget how gracious, and incredible he was. I’ve met lots of celebrities over the years, but Ed honestly was one of the most amazing by far. Everyone from the lighting guy to the cue card holder was made to feel important. I know there are lots of people who will really be missing Ed, including myself. My prayers are certainly with his friends and family today. We’ll miss you Ed!”
Star Search was only the beginning of greater things to come, Kata has been an entertainer for 20 of her 22 years in this world. She’s opened for likes of Merle Haggard, LeAnn Rimes, Rascal Flatts, just to name a few, and even has a song appearing in an upcoming film this summer… If you’d like to know what she’s up to now, just check out her bands website www.kataandtheblaze.com …

Written by wildsmith

June 24th, 2009 at 3:51 pm